Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dead to You by Lisa McMann

New York:  Simon Pulse, 2012

It's been nine long years since it happened, but he came back.  Ethan remembers the bits and pieces about the abduction, but what he's most concerned about is that his "mother" abandoned him.  Not that it matters anymore...he found his way back to his real home, with Mama, Dad, Blake and the newbie, little Gracie. 

It's been a tough road though.  Ethan is still caught up with his other world and with Ellen, who abducted him when he was seven years old.  Why did she do it?  Why did she abandon him later?  It didn't matter how he was raised, where he lived.  He knew his belonged.  He's not so sure with his now family.  The new parents, his true parents, are taking their time to let him sort it all out, but Ethan still wants to protect Ellen.  Protect the bad, distrust the good...he doesn't understand it himself.

Slowly and with time, he begins to breathe easier.  He doesn't remember much, but he feels the love his parents and little sister show him.  And the one person who helps him through it the most?  His old childhood friend, Cami.  It certainly isn't Blake, his brother.  Blake truly believes Ethan isn't his real brother. Their relationship isn't peanut butter and jelly.  It's more like pushes, shoves, and avoidance. 

But then the revelation of Ethan's past comes back full force...

This is one of those kinds of books that someone will pick up and want to read all in one sitting.  The short chapters help with the fluidity of the plot itself, but McMann continues to tease the reader about Ethan's past, just enough so that the pages continue to turn.  The reader sees Ethan's character develop from the shy, unsure kid who isn't used to normality slowly blossom into the realization that he's now part of that culture, but it's his dark side that continues to plague him in his relationships, his anxiety, and his present and future.  If you're a savvy reader, look for the placement of the denouement....a hint to what happens with this book.  My parting words after finishing this book?  "Oh, man!!  That did NOT just happen!"  Recommended. 

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